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The Roundup for September 20, 2011

Better late than never! This should be a super-sized roundup.

• I haven’t said one word about #occupywallstreet, which I hope will only grow over time, as long as the NYPD doesn’t find any more 19th-century mask laws to break up the protest.  Kevin Gosztola at The Dissenter has provided live coverage. Keep in mind that the reason activists are occupying Wall Street is simple: that’s where the blame should be.

• The SEC has widened its insider trading probe to see if anyone illegally profited off the news that S&P would downgrade US debt. Hopefully this goes better than their awful Deutsche Bank investigation.

• Sanaa, Yemen is a war zone once more, with scores of deaths, sniper fire, and the distinct possibility of civil war, as political talks break down. Soldiers who have defected to join the anti-government side are part of this uprising.

• The veto threat must be contagious, as the White House offered another one over House legislation attacking the EPA. The more cynical would say that the White House has done a good job, with the ozone standards delay, of attacking the EPA all by themselves.

• This story on the underground economy is a lesson in how people get by during economic disaster: with every idea they can think of. On a related note, the squeegee men are back in New York City.

Hoarding cash is something you do if you think your investment will inevitably not be worth it. It’s what you do in a time of inadequate demand.

• This scenario won’t happen, but just slower growth and more unemployment will increase debt to the point where the debt limit could come into play again before Election Day.

• Some postscripts from the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: a Navy officer legally married his male partner in Vermont moments after the policy was repealed; a soldier stationed in Germany came out to his father on YouTube.

• The former President of Afghanistan and a peace council leader was killed in an attack on his home today.

• The chic thing to do on the right is to back up Rick Perry on his belief that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. Michael Hiltzik breaks that precedent, sets everyone straight.

• Speaking of Perry, the Justice Department argued yesterday that his state’s redistricting map violates the Voting Rights Act.

• As Italy suffers a credit downgrade (maybe they should get eight downgrades at a time), the bigger Europe issue is Siemens taking all their money out of a French bank, a kind of corporate bank run.

• The $400,000 Rep. John Fleming has left over after feeding his family would pay for almost 400 workers.

• I don’t get why the UBS “rogue trader” would make fake hedge trades, but if this whole thing renews the push for a Glass-Steagall-like wall of separation between commercial and investment banking, all the better.

• The Georgia State Board of Pardon and Paroles denied clemency for Troy Davis, and incredibly, he could be killed by the state tomorrow.

• The NYT covers the Pennsylvania effort to gerrymander the Presidential election. This is a kind of nuclear option, a trigger that Republicans may not want to pull.

• I for one welcome our robot killing machines.

• What a group of political hacks the California Democratic Party leadership is. The incompetence on display as they ignored warning after warning about Kinde Durkee, the corrupt embezzler who ran 400 campaign accounts in the state, is incredible. A lot of charities and non-profits are out of luck now, too. And the bank is sending all of the money over to the court to be settled, which means that candidates and clubs might not be able to access their funds for months, if not years.

Ten million more defaults on mortgages sounds a little high, but it’s entirely possible.

• Amazon warehouses sound about as nice a place to work as Ikea warehouses.

• More important than the President’s welcome to the head of the Libyan Transitional National Council is the formal recognition by the African Union.

• Is it better that Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s alibi is that he misread a signal that a maid cleaning up his hotel room wanted to immediately have sex with him?

“Of course this is a war on birth control!”

• I’m not much for predictions, and the easy one of these two is that Linda McMahon will not be a US Senator. But the more out-on-a-limb one is that Tommy Thompson won’t even make it through the Republican primary in Wisconsin. “Obamacare,” which he endorsed in print, will dog him. I don’t think the Tea Partier challenging John Boehner in a primary is going very far either.

• The latest threat to stop defense cuts – say there will be a draft if they are approved, which makes almost no sense.

• A DNC member has filed a resolution to stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

We’re number 25 in Internet speed! U-S-A!

• This is the office of a pharmaceutical company in China. Wow.

• For the record, I signed up with Qwikster, because I didn’t find myself streaming very much, and I want access to movies that the streaming service wouldn’t have. It wasn’t a hard choice for me. They just better not phase out the DVD-by-mail process.

• An excellent counter-intuitive take on Jon Stewart from Tom Junod. If you’d had a nagging feeling about Stewart that you can’t get out of your head, this is the story for you.

• It was Constitution Day over the weekend. The holiday is unconstitutional.

• Alec Baldwin wasn’t the President of television on the Emmys skit because Fox censored his phone hacking joke.

Seventy-two bags of cocaine in his body.

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David Dayen

David Dayen